Monthly Archives: September 2012

And that’s OK

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So you know that whole “I’m going to write 500 words a day” thing? Yeah, well, that hasn’t really been happening. I’ve been writing maybe a few sentences most days. I get to the 500 mark once a week, if I’m lucky.

And that’s ok.

I’ve been struggling to let go of a lot lately. It’s tough to forgive yourself when you aren’t accomplishing every little thing you set out to do.

* I haven’t gone running in months- And that’s ok.

* I haven’t worked on my novel in weeks – And that’s ok.

* My house is a disaster – And that’s ok.

* I still have a good 10-15 pounds of baby weight to lose- And that’s ok.

* I haven’t posted on this blog for over a week- And that’s ok.

Some days it’s just so FREAKING hard to see past all of the negatives, all of the crap I’m not accomplishing. I NEED INSTANT GRATIFICATION, DAMN IT. Then I think, there are people in this world without enough food, there are children being abused, there are so many things worse than your stupid middle class white lady problems. And, you know, that helps a bit, having a little Oprah moment (is that still a thing? Because Oprah’s totally not a thing. Who would have thought I’d be dating myself with an Oprah reference?). But then that guilt just gets added to the pile and I end up feeling lousy about the fact that I feel lousy.

So, what was my point? Oh yeah, letting go. Rather than obsessing about not accomplishing things (You’re not making a living writing? Really?? FAILURE), I’m trying to focus on what I am managing to get done. Here are a few things, in no particular order.

I’m raising three awesome kids (with my wonderful husband, of course). My daughter started kindergarten, and my son started preschool this month. That was hard. I know it’s cliche, but they grow up so fast. There are two different kinds of time in this world- Time Before Kids, and Time After Kids. They change and grow so quickly that the years just fly by. You spend your time wishing they would stay little, while at the same time marveling at the amazing people they’re becoming. It’s a mind blowing conundrum.

* I get out the door every day. Seriously, this is HUGE. I’m giving myself mad props for waking up after just a few hours of sleep, getting my shit together, and my two youngest kids’ shit together, and getting everybody to their respective places (somewhat) on time.

* I started cloth diapering. Sounds silly I know. What kind of accomplishment is that? But it’s something I’ve always wanted to do for environmental and financial reasons. I started about a month ago and have been loving it. I feel so self sufficient.

* I’m blogging again. The fact that I’ve taken up with this little corner of the internet again is an accomplishment in and of itself. I’m trying not to get too caught up in feeling obligated to post regularly. I post when I feel like it, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

* I have a happy marriage. From what I gather, this is a pretty big deal. We may not have all of the time and energy we once did for each other, but we’re still best friends.

*I started a new story. I’ve given myself permission to let go of the novel, for now. I don’t know if I’ll go back to it or not. I’ve started several other things in the last couple of years, but my focus is always clouded by the guilty feeling that I should be working on the novel that I put so much time into. I’m letting that guilt go and chalking writing the novel up to experience. I’m super excited about the new story I started. It’s a post apocalyptic girl power type thing (I know, I KNOW, not another one. Screw you, Internets, I do what I want.) and I think it has the potential to be pretty kick ass.

And that’s just the short list. The long one includes things like, I’m alive and I remember to brush my teeth twice a day, so I won’t bore you with that. All of these things may seem pretty mundane, but sometimes getting through the day is the best we can do. Why not give ourselves a little credit?

Beyond Belief

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Belief is an interesting thing. It’s personal and subjective, but most of all, it’s incredibly powerful. To say that you think, or suppose, or even know something is true is one thing. To say that you BELIEVE in it is something else entirely.

Cultures rise and fall on the premise of belief. Wars are fought, lives are lost, and hatred is fostered all because of one six letter word. I’m not writing this to rip into religion, or those who practice it. Admittedly, I’m not a religious person; I tend to fall more in line with the science crowd. But I do understand and respect the need people have for it, have always had for it, since the beginning of modern human existence.

What I have a hard time comprehending is the notion that believing in a particular thing somehow trumps basic morals and human decency. This strange occurrence crosses all religious and party lines. Mob mentality takes over without a mob even being present. And it’s always been that way. Blame the anonymity of the internet all you want, when it comes to political and religious beliefs, people have always been more than willing to turn into assholes to defend their cause.

In the last few years we’ve been battered over and over again with belief.  Each side insists they are right, and that you are somehow morally bankrupt if you believe anything else. Family and friends turn against each other without a second thought, attacking each other with shocking vitriol.

The other night I watched a documentary on the tribes of New Guinea (because that’s how I prefer to spend my Friday nights thankyouverymuch). At the time of the filming, the tribes had little to no exposure to people outside of their society. They knew nothing of Western science or religion. They believed that women were impregnated by forest spirits and that cannibalism was the only way to destroy the evil inhabiting a murderers’ body. Their cultures had followed these beliefs for thousands of years, untouched by the outside world.

So, do these people, these “savages” who run naked through the forest, practicing their own form of cannibalistic justice, need saving? Are we so much better off?

We eat each other alive every day, online and in the media, under the guise of debating religion and politics. We hide behind belief to justify hatred and discrimination. In our supposedly more “civilized” world, we turn fear of the unknown into an unmovable system of belief that clouds our consciences and warps our morals. We spend our lives screaming at each other, trying to sway the majority to our way of thinking because belief is a static thing that cannot evolve with the changing times.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Belief doesn’t have to narrow our minds and limit our scope. The whole concept of belief is an incredible testament to the ingenuity of the human mind. The world is full of strange and wonderful things beyond our basic comprehension. Instead of holing up in a cave somewhere and living in fear of the wonders of nature, our ancestors theorized and hypothesized, fitting the miracles of this world into a framework that made sense to them, and still makes sense to so many.

Over the centuries, many of the original ideas about our creation and existence have given way to scientific evidence. We know so much now, about ourselves and our universe, it’s mind-boggling. We’ve discovered that the Earth is round and older than comprehension and that we are literally made of star dust. Yet, incredibly, there is still so much to learn. That gap, the space that science has yet to (and may never) explain, is filled with belief.

The notion that people can take an explanation that they can’t see, hear, or touch and believe it with every fiber of their beings  is truly beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s been sullied by people in positions of power who manipulate it to fit their agendas. Belief is the currency with which our morals are bought and sold.

If we were, for just a moment, to reflect on its intended purpose, perhaps we would not allow our beliefs to be dictated so easily. If we were to recognize that we are all merely humans, trying to find meaning behind our existence, trying to feel worthy of the divine spark that lives in us all, perhaps we would treat each other a little more gently.

Inspiration

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I’m drawn to the ocean. I have been since I was a small child, gathering sea glass on the beach with my grandmother. When I look out at the vast expanse of water, I feel a longing that I can’t explain.  It’s more than just the sense that my problems are so very small in this big world, or an appreciation of the pure beauty of it. It’s a tugging, a pull deep in the recesses of my soul, trying to remind me of something I can’t quite grasp. As corny as it sounds, my heart actually aches at the sight of the sea. It is in those moments that I very seriously consider the notion of reincarnation. It seems to be the only thing that can explain the feeling that I’m lost and some little seaside village in another place and time is my home.

This sense, this crazy melodramatic feeling, is always followed by a strong desire to write stories. I just want to hide away somewhere for days, digging into that part of me that has lived a million lives. Instead, I usually just continue as I was, living day to day with a small, clearly defined hole in my heart and every excuse in the book repeating in my head.

The ocean does this to me. I know it, and I ignore it more often than not because, well, I see the ocean every day. Sometimes, though, that need to narrate is awakened by something unexpected; a photograph, a painting, or a song. I love when that happens, when inspiration strikes and I just have to sit down and write something.

The music of Mumford & Sons strikes that chord with me. Now that you think I’m completely insane, I’m going to end my slightly embarrassing diatribe right here, because the music really speaks for itself.

Here’s a little Mumford to start your Monday. Have a lovely week!